What Are the Marijuana Laws in New York City?

In New York, possessing small amounts of marijuana could result in a fine. Possessing larger amounts (from 25 grams to 8 ounces) is a misdemeanor, and possessing over eight ounces is a felony. Possessing marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine. Selling marijuana is either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the punishments vary according the amount of marijuana that’s sold, and whether minors are involved. Trafficking in marijuana is a felony with a 15 year prison sentence.

Governer Cuomo recently made headlines when he announced he wanted to reform New York’s marijuana laws. In New York, possessing small amounts of marijuana is only a minor violation, which could result in a ticket. However, if you possess marijuana out in the open, you can be charged with “open view possession”, which is a misdemeanor.

In recent years, it has become very common for police to arrest people in New York City for open view possession, after they search suspects and the suspects pull bags of marijuana out of their pockets. In the last 15 years, about 600,000 people have been arrested in New York for open view possession, most of those in New York City. In 2011 alone, 50,000 people in New York City were arrested for open view possession.

Governor Cuomo asked for legislation that would decriminalize the possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana either in public or private. Instead, he believes that open view possession should be punishable by a fine. He claimed that marijuana arrests are a waste of resources and have other negative impacts on society. Studies have shown that most marijuana arrestees do not go on to commit serious crimes later.